Making sure that your websites are fast (really fast) has never been a more important objective for website designers. It goes without saying that time invested in ‘Page-Speed Optimisation’ is time well spent. Better user-experience, conversion rates and prompt mobile browsing are just a few of the obvious, almost guaranteed rewards for those who pick up this obsessive culture.
With Google continuing to preach their ‘Make The Web Faster’ message and some really great new Page-Speed tools out there, I wanted to share four that I’m currently using and experimenting with right now. And they are:
- Google Page Speed
- Google mod_pagespeed
- Pingdom Tools
- Google Analytics
Page speed & SEO.
Page Speed has been an obvious and credible ranking factor since 2010. If you missed it – Google’s Matt Cutts and friends released this post in April 2010; announcing that Page Speed was a new, albiet weak, ranking factor. With this month’s launch of mod_pagespeed, I noticed on it’s accompanying blog post that Page Speed is still an organic ranking factor. Is it any stronger than it was in 2010? Well; Possibly.
1. Google Page Speed
If Google Page Speed isn’t already in your life, you can download the browser extension from Google, or use their new online analysis tool – Page Speed Insights. What I particularly like about Page Speed is how it changes your culture for developing sites. For example you may develop some .htaccess code for setting Leverage Browser Caching that you’ll automatically use on every website thereafter. You can see Page Speed in action in my video demonstration above.
2. Google mod_pagespeed
We’re currently playing with this now on our testing server and the results are fantastic. The configurable module automatically compresses, minifies and serves your content without compromising the presentation or behaviour of your pages.
You can find out more and download mod_pagespeed over on the Google Developer’s website.
3. Pingdom Tools
Pingdom are a website monitoring company who have released a truly fantastic, free Page Speed tool. Head over to Pingdom and simply enter the URL of the website you’d like to analyse. Using real browsers around the world, Pingdom give you a myriad of information about your page, including accurate load-times and a clear breakdown of your website’s components. Although similar to Google’s Page Speed tools, Pingdom gives you that all-important load-speed in seconds from random browsers around the world.
4. Google Analytics
In May 2011, The Google Analytics team announced the arrival of Page Speed or ‘Site Speed’ tracking within Analytics. I’ve always been used to monitoring Page Speed within Google Webmaster Tools, however this has since been discontinued due to ‘low demand’. Google Analytics does appear to be an accurate way of measuring load speeds and the dashboard gives you plenty of ways to inspect and analyse the data. Accurately monitoring your loading times within Analytics is always a great way to track the successes of your optimisation.
Some people may regard Page Speed optimisation has a never-ending and pointless exercise. Why spend hour-after-hour shaving half a second off your loading time, when you could simply have one less slide in your carousel? For me personally, Page Speed Optimisation is a rewarding, culture-changing habit that can keep your users engaged, converting and should also keep the organic SEO algorithms happier. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Page Speed in the comments below: